Waiting for Justice
The work of the MMIWG National Inquiry ended June 4, 2019 with the release of the final report, “Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls”. The report includes 231 Calls for Justice for all levels of governments, organizations, and partners to take action to end the systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two spirit peoples. The Calls for Justice can be found here: https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report/
Nearly two years since the release of the Calls for Justice and we are still waiting for a National Action plan to be created. According to Canada, they are developing a federal strategy as a component of the national action plan. The plan is promised to build upon community-led initiatives across the country and will include concrete and effective measures put in place by governments.
While we continue to wait for Canada to actively respond, we reflect on some of the lessons highlighted in the National MMIWG final report. In terms of the approach needed to fulfill the Calls for Justice,
The fulfillment of the Calls for Justice requires a decolonizing approach:
It involves recognizing inherent rights through the principle that Indigenous Peoples have the right to govern themselves in relation to matters that are internal to their communities; integral to their unique cultures, identities, traditions, languages, and institutions; and with respect to their special relationship to the land. Our approach honours and respects Indigenous values, philosophies, and knowledge systems. It is a strength-based approach, focusing on the resilience and expertise of individuals and communities themselves. (p. 2)
The National MMIWG final report also reminds us about the importance of recognizing distinctions:
Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people come from diverse First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities. The Calls for Justice must be interpreted and implemented in an equitable and non-discriminatory way, addressing the needs of distinct Indigenous Peoples, and taking into account factors that make them distinct. These include, but are not limited to, self-identification in terms of community and Nation, as well as gendered, and geographical- or regionally-specific distinctions that must be taken into account in implementing the Calls for Justice. (p. 3)
A third lesson, action must be Indigenous-led and grounded in self-determination and self-governance:
Services and solutions must be led by Indigenous governments, organizations, and people. This is based on the self-determination and self-governance of Indigenous Peoples, as defined by United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) articles 3 and 4, as well as by the recognition of an inherent right that exists independent of any statute or legislation. The colonial mindset by which Indigenous leaders ask for permission and the state gives permission has to end. Further, the exclusion of Indigenous women, girls, 2SLGBTQQIA people, Elders, and children from the exercise of Indigenous self-determination must end. (p. 3)
With these lessons in mind, FNT2T wants to hear from you about ways the Bizhiw (Lynx) MMIWGS sub-circle can support and honour those who have been impacted by MMIWGS. Help us do our part in responding to the Calls for Justice!
You can contact the Peacemaking Circle directly, confidentially or publicly, by visiting our ‘Bizhiw Talks’ page: http://fnt2t.com/index.php/bizhiwtalks/
If you would like to connect confidentially, you can contact Peacemaking Policy Keeper, Jennifer Meixner by email: Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org
For FNT2T by the MMIWGS Sub-Circle
Last modified: June 1, 2021